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Late September 2009 Update Bulletin

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The letter H!i folks! I hope everyone had a great time at the Zendikar Prereleases last weekend, and will have a great time at the Zendikar Launch Parties this weekend. My secret volcano lair has been showered with balloons and get well cards due to my recent bout with swine flu. Of course, most of them are from my enemies and have the inconvenient tendency to explode, but attention is attention. I'm mostly recovered except for the corkscrew tail. (It's not even fair that I got swine flu. I'm a vegetarian!)

Now that I'm back at work, I'm completing the slightly delayed Oracle and Comprehensive Rulebook updates. The biggest additions this time out are the expansion of the Casual Variants section of the Comp Rules. This section was created to cover the Planar Magic (i.e., Planechase) rules. Well, as long as we've got a whole section dedicated to casual variants, we may as well put some stuff in it—the Planar Magic rules would get lonely otherwise. This update features rules for Vanguard and Elder Dragon Highlander.

The creation of Comp Rules rules for Vanguard also means that we're putting the vanguard cards into Gatherer for the first time. This includes both the physical oversized cards printed back in Tempest block and Urza block, and the (wacky) Magic Online avatars that double as vanguard cards. Like "plane," "vanguard" is a new card type, and like plane cards, they're nontraditional cards that can exist only in the command zone. These are cards we printed and a format we support, so it's fitting that they're getting an official treatment.

Elder Dragon Highlander is a bit of a different story. The inclusion of EDH rules in the Comprehensive Rulebook does not mean that I (or Wizards of the Coast) is taking over the format. The EDH rules will continue to be managed by the independent EDH Rules Committee, which I believe is the same shadowy cabal that rigs the Oscars. I'll just be following along with whatever they're doing. The reasons I'm putting an EDH section into the Comp Rules are that it's a centralized place where players can access the rules for this popular format, and that EDH tournaments have been running at events like Gen Con (so having official rules in an official document seems like a good idea).

Other notable items are the elimination of the power-level errata on the Parallax cards, the reversion of the Flagbearers to their original functionality, and insane new wordings for the Exodus Keeper cycle and Oath cycle. (Exodus is the next Legacy set slated for Magic Online release, so it got a lot of attention this time around.)

The Oracle updates will go live on Friday, October 2. The new Comprehensive Rulebook will be up as soon as it's gone through Editing and a review process, but the schedules are still a bit discombobulated so I can't be more specific. Note that changes to the Rulebook may wind up a bit different than what's posted here due to those processes.

It's been a busy few months, what with the massive Magic 2010 overhauls, quickly followed by the Planechase updates, quickly followed by the Zendikar updates. Oracle and the Comp Rules will be taking a much-needed nap for a while (as will I, I think), since the next update won't be until late January. Whew!

Mark

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